Ephesiansby Robert M. Solomon
Having spelt out the glorious mystery of Christ and His gospel and the beauty of God’s plan for the church, and having prayed for the church in the context of God’s lofty truths and mission, Paul breaks into an exhilarating doxology in praise of the triune God. The apostle was on a spiritual high as he breathed the invigorating truths of the gospel and God’s manifold wisdom.
As Paul reflected on the fullness of God in the church, he must have realised how impossible it all seemed at first glance. How could Jew and Gentile be saved into one church to be filled by God? Yet this was possible because God is able to do infinitely more (“immeasurably more”, Ephesians 3:20) than we care to ask in prayer or can even imagine in our private thoughts. As Bible commentator Adam Clarke put it, God is able to do “superabundantly above the greatest abundance”. God has planned this from eternity and “his power that is at work within us” (v. 20) is able to accomplish this. Only God can do this.
Paul wants to glorify God. Charles Spurgeon observes that Paul could not say, “Unto him be glory in my soul” because “his one soul afforded far too little space, and so he cried ‘Unto him, be glory in the church’”. Paul possessed a bird’s eye view of God’s grace and its effects on the church in the universe. He understood its significance, and was therefore able to see the glory of God in the church.
Paul also sees God’s glory “in Christ Jesus” (v. 21). Earlier we saw that the mystery of Christ had to do with the bringing together of Jew and Gentile into the one church of God. In Ephesians 5, we see another aspect to this mystery—the bringing together of the church and Christ, the body and its Head, the bride and her Groom (5:32). This is indeed a mystery, as we reflect with great wonder on how it is possible for God and humankind to be united in such an intimate fashion.
To see God’s glory in Christ and in the church is to recognise this mystery.
This glory is an everlasting glory—“throughout all generations” and “for ever and ever” (v. 21).
Why is the church a miracle? What does it say about God’s wisdom and power? How should this affect our worship in church?
How is God glorified in the church? How can we ensure that He is glorified by succeeding generations?